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I received this book for review. This does not impact the content of my review. I promise to always provide my honest experience of the books I read.

Spring House by Mary Ellen TaylorBook: Spring House
Author: Mary Ellen Taylor
Published: July 9, 2019
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Romance/Women’s Fiction
Format: Paperback
Source: Received for review

Synopsis

The lives of two women, generations apart, converge in this enthralling novel of love, mystery, memories, and secrets.

Pregnant and still grieving the death of her fiancé, historian Megan Buchanan is forging ahead on a dream project: to restore to its original glory the landmark hunting lodge her own great-great-grandfather built on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. With the help of her fiancé’s caring best friend, it’s sure to draw much-needed tourist revenue to Cape Hudson, a town rich in southern history.

However, it’s Spring House, the caretaker’s cottage on the grounds, that holds the most intriguing history for Megan. In a cache of old letters, she’s drawn into the captivating life of a young woman who embarked on her own dream adventure a century ago. With each one, Megan is swept away into her enthralling world—and all its secrets. But Megan has secrets too.

Now, as one woman’s past unfolds in each revealing letter, Megan will discover more about herself and about the emotional tides of family that can be weathered with those you love and trust the most. (Goodreads)

Interested? Get a copy today: Book Depository | Chapters-Indigo | Your Local Indie Bookstore

Review

This book is the follow-up to Winter Cottage, and like many romance series, the protagonist was a minor character in the previous book(s).

An enjoyable story.

All in, I enjoyed this book. The story flows quite well, the characters are interesting, and the conflicts are believable. The combination of present day characters digging in to the past to figure out what happened to people or houses or objects always intrigues me. I enjoyed this  book for what I hoped it would be – a relaxing, enjoyable, entertaining story.

If you’re looking for a fun, steamy romance, this isn’t it. Spring House is more of a women’s fiction novel than a romance, and the romance it has is a sweet rather than steamy one. Why do I say it’s more women’s fiction than romance? The focus of the story is not on the relationship between the two love interests, but rather is on Megan’s journey to pursue her dream job, establish a career, and figure out how to be a single mother even while her late fiance’s mother is intent on being very involved in the child’s (and Megan’s) life.

Related Post: Why Women’s Fiction is Important and Why More Men Should Read It

But it needed editing.

While I enjoyed this novel’s story, my editor’s eye caught a few things that should have been fixed before publication. A typo or two I can deal with. It happens. We’re not perfect. But I found this novel had quite a few inconsistencies in timelines or action. Examples include mentioning that a big dumpster has been delivered for all the trash but a page later the contractors are trucking bags trash away, someone drives up in a jeep and then two paragraphs later gets lawn chairs out of the truck bed, dates mentioned in the text don’t match up with dates listed in the family tree at the beginning of the book. And worst of all, the main character sees her doctor, gets a haircut, and then shops in an antique shop all before 8 am….in what world?

One line in particular really rubbed me the wrong way. It said, “…she suffered another jolt of sexual desire that was almost comical considering her pear-shaped body.” Oof. It sounds really body-shaming doesn’t it? It sounds like the author is sharing a bias here that pregnant women (the main character is pregnant, remember) or fat women can’t be sexual beings; that the idea of pear-shaped women being sexual is funny. I may be reading it in a way it was not intended, but that was my initial, guttural reaction. And it made me angry. This is not something that should be in a romance novel or a women’s fiction novel. These books are meant to uplift women, to encourage and entertain us. This is the opposite of that. And yes, I understand that some pregnant people do not feel sexy and that may be what this is trying to suggest, that Megan doesn’t feel sexy, but it comes across as she shouldn’t feel sexy.

Content Warning: If you’re dealing with things like infertility or pregnancy loss, this might not be the book for you.

For the most part, I enjoyed this book. I didn’t love, as you can see by the things I’ve mentioned above, but I’m still intrigued to see if this author writes more books in this series/town.

 

Spring House: A contemporary small-town romantic novel

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